RealTime IT News

QUALCOMM Heats Up Push-To-Talk Race

The competition for push-to-talk over cellular (PoC) heated up this week as wireless giant QUALCOMM announced its new BREWChat platform.

The San Diego-based company's "walkie-talkie" function carries the same features of its root technology Qchat, but is specifically designed for CDMA2000 1X Release 0 networks. Both technologies allow for both person-to-person and person-to-group communication between subscribers.

BREWChat differentiates itself by using standard voice-over-Internet protocol (VoIP) technologies to allow push-to-talk functions on 3G CDMA wireless devices and networks. The BREWChat client software is written as an application for QUALCOMM's BREW platform and offers over-the-air upgrades of handset software, management of group membership by subscribers and ad-hoc creation of chat groups.

The company said BREWChat is designed to easily upgrade to and interoperate with QChat, which will soon to be available on Release A CDMA2000 1X networks QUALCOMM said it has conducted trials in the U.S. and is planning more around the world. Commercial availability is expected to debut in the first quarter of 2004.

"BREWChat takes advantage of the high data speed and bandwidth efficiency benefits inherent in CDMA to deliver a fast and very efficient push-to-chat solution for operators with 3G CDMA2000 1X networks," QUALCOMM Internet Services president Peggy Johnson said in a statement. "BREWChat will give operators who offer BREW-enabled services an added opportunity to leverage their investment. Since BREWChat runs on top of the BREW platform, integration with other applications and services is easy and allows updates of software over the air."

Both BREWChat and QChat products take advantage of QUALCOMM's contract with push-to-talk pioneer Nextel , which uses Motorola's i-Den technology.

Nextel is expected to use BREWChat fend off up-and-comers like Nokia , which recently took the wraps off of two infrastructure products that operate over GPRS and Verizon , which introduced its national push-to-talk service this summer.